Eden Rock by Charles Causley

In the poem, Eden Rock, by Charles Causley the speaker, who is a poet himself, is shown imagining about his childhood memories, and talking about the moments he enjoyed when he was on a picnic with his family. Through the poem, the poet has not only gives a detailed account of his father/mother, but also makes us familiar with the moral of the poem which reads as: ‘leaving your parents is hard.’

The poem has a very realistic account of every scene and activity being performed by the poet’s mother, father and the dog. The poet makes the poem so realistic with his smart and sensible use of poetic devises that it looks as if everything is happening right in front of us.

 

Eden Rock Analysis

They are waiting for me somewhere beyond Eden

(…)

Still two years old and trembling at his feet.

As we know the speaker (the poet) here is talking about and sharing his childhood memories that he experienced while having a picnic somewhere around the Eden Rock. Though the poet does refer to Eden Rock, and tells us that his parents (they) are waiting for him somewhere beyond Eden Rock, still he doesn’t give any information about the whereabouts of Eden Rock. He simply refers it here though literally it means ‘Garden of Eden’, a heavenly place.

In the next lines, recalling his childhood memories, the poet says that his father is twenty five, and was wearing ‘the same suit…Of Genuine Irish Tweed. The mention of ‘same suit’ makes us believe that his family was not in good economic condition.

The poet, in fact, gives a very precise description of his father and the two years old trembling terrier Jack (a dog). All this collectively gives pace to the poem and makes it run faster with its theme and the moral the poet wants to convey to us.

My mother, twenty-three, in a sprigged dress

(…)

Her hair, the colour of wheat, takes on the light.

Where in the first stanza, we are given a very precise description about his father’s suit, similarly in the second stanza, we are provided with very precise details about his mother’s fabric.

However, the descriptions of the fabric or dress of both mother and father makes us realize that the family of the poet was not having good economic conditions, but yet they pride of what they have.

Here, the poet says that his mother is twenty-threes old, and is wearing a sprigged dress, which is drawn at the waist, while the ribbon in her straw hat….Has spread the stiff white cloth over the grass.

Let me tell you here that the poet has given picturesque descriptions of every minute details and activity his mother does, such as how she spreads the stiff white cloth over the grass, and the light in his mother’s hair is an angelic image.

She pours tea from a Thermos, the milk straight

(…)

The same three plates, the tin cups painted blue.

Where the first stanza talks about the fabric of poet’s father, terrier Jack and its trembling at poet’s father feet, the second stanza talks about his mother’s fabric and how she prepares for the picnic, the third stanza details about the specific, ordinary activities his mother does, like pouring tea from a Thermos, milk straight from an old H.P. a sauce-bottle, and a screw of paper for a cork; the tin cups painted blue, and slowly setting out the same three plates.

This minute details of the preparations being made by poet’s mother not only shows her tranquil nature, but also depicts how affectionate and peaceful the family is.

Here again the description of the scene looks so real that it makes us immediately realize that they are having a picnic and the child is watching his mother pouring the milk.

The sky whitens as if lit by three suns.

(…)

Crossing is not as hard as you might think.’

The third stanza gives us a feel of heaven, while the word ‘three sun’ shining brightly and blindly indicates towards the holy trinity. This holy trinity is Father, Mother and the poet; however, there is no mention about the ‘terrier Jack’ of which we heard in the third line of first stanza. Besides, the mention of ‘holy trinity’ also shows that the family is united, and there is a very strong bond among them.

The poet tells his mother shades her eyes and looks his way over the drifted stream. Then his father spins a stone along the water, and they (mother/father) also encourage him from the other bank so that he can cross the stream without any fear.

The poet says he does hear them calling and directing him, ‘See where the stream-path is!, and even suggesting him that “Crossing is not as hard as you might think.”

As we reach towards the end of this stanza, we come to know that the poet’s parents are either trying to convey his child to come with them, or teaching him that life is not a bed of roses.

I had not thought that it would be like this.

This concluding line of the poem is on its own, it lays emphasis on his message. It also makes us acquainted with the moral of the poem which reads as: leaving your parents is hard. The last line not only separates us from his memory, but also brings us back to reality.

But this separation of line from the rest of the poem also shows us the division of poet from his family.

This line also indicates towards poet’s repentance over something that he should not have done, or he might be talking about an accident he may have met while crossing the stream-path or it could also be related to some loss that the poet might have faced during the picnic.

Whatever may be, the poem is about rejoicing, re-joining and reunion of “three suns” that is; father, mother and the poet.

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